More foreign missions in Nigeria have issued security alerts in anticipation of an imminent terrorist attack on the nation’s capital.
The Danish, Irish, Bulgarian, Finnish, and German embassies in Abuja have issued alerts identical to those issued by the United States and the United Kingdom.
On Sunday, the United States and the United Kingdom issued separate security advisories warning of a heightened danger of terrorist strikes in Abuja. The State Security Service (SSS) warned Nigerians to be calm but vigilant after the notice.
In a further escalation of the threat, the US Department of State authorized the departure of its people willing to leave Nigeria owing to the alert. In addition, consular services in Abuja were terminated.
The Nigerian government, through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, criticized the US and UK advisories. The administration emphasized that Nigeria and its capital, Abuja, are secure. Mr. Mohammed stated that all nations, including the United States, face unique challenges.
Despite Nigerian government promises, several foreign offices have continued to warn their residents of a possible attack on Abuja.
In its advice, Denmark informed its citizens,“there are currently reports of increased risk of terrorist attacks, particularly in Abuja. Exercise caution, especially in and around Abuja. Follow developments via the local media, authorities or your hotel. Always follow the instructions of the local authorities.”
It noted that Nigeria is marked by unrest in multiple regions and advised against all non-essential travel to the country, especially Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt.
Denmark stated,“The risks are so serious that you should have special reasons for visiting the area/country,”
It highlighted, as have others, the elevated risk of a terrorist attack in Abuja.
It was stated that potential targets may include government buildings, shopping malls, hotels, bars, huge gatherings, international organizations, transportation facilities, schools, marketplaces, places of worship, and law enforcement agencies, among others.
Finland, citing the United States and the United Kingdom’s warnings about the risk of a terrorist attack in Nigeria, particularly in Abuja, underlined that Nigeria’s security agencies have issued a plea for calm and heightened vigilance.
It asked its inhabitants to exercise greater caution than usual and to avoid walking at night at all costs.
“The upcoming elections in 2023 can also cause movement and crowds should definitely be avoided. Social unrest is the most likely security risk in Nigeria,” Social disturbance is the greatest security threat in Nigeria, according to the report.
Citing the #EndSARS demonstration in October 2020, the report stated that Nigeria saw broad social unrest that has calmed down thus far, but there is still cause for enhanced sensitivity. As the elections of 2023 get near, social discontent is likely to intensify.
On its website, the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised its people in Nigeria to minimize travel to Abuja.
“In connection with published information about an increased level of risk of terrorist acts in Abuja, we recommend that Bulgarian citizens residing short-term or long-term in the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and especially in the capital, to limit travel to Abuja only to urgent cases, to refrain from visits to public events and to avoid gatherings of people around government institutions, places of worship, markets, shopping malls and entertainment complexes,”
According to Daily Trust, Germany also issued similar alerts to their nationals.
Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, has seen an uptick in security since the United States and United Kingdom issued their advisory. In several areas of the city, notably the famed TradeMoore estate in Lugbe, security personnel conducted random checks of homes and vehicles. At least two terrorist suspects were apprehended at TradeMoore, a representative of the estate informed TheCable.
On Thursday, the famed Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja was likewise closed for security reasons.
Nigeria faces numerous types of insecurity, such as attacks by Boko Haram and its allies in the North-east, armed robbers in the North-west and North-central regions, and violent secessionists in the South-east.